Archimedes Project: testi online di meccanica dall’età classica al Rinascimento


L’Archimedes Project  rende disponibili online testi e manoscritti di meccanica scritti dall’età classica al Rinascimento. É possibile anche effettuare una ricerca testuale in italiano, latino, greco e inglese nei testi digitalizzati.

Questo è l’elenco degli autori presenti, mentre qui trovate il link alle opere classificate in base al periodo storico di produzione.

“When the first treatises on mechanics emerged, their practical relevance was negligible. Rather, they profited more from existing mechanical knowledge when formulating theoretical concepts with a potentially unlimited range of application than they contributed to the structuring and advancement of the practical knowledge embodied in professional activities. This relation underwent change only during the Renaissance, when challenging new tasks required that the entire realm of mechanical technologies be drawn on, which led to a realization of the implicit potential of the theoretical resources accumulated since antiquity. This realization was the beginning of an age in which the growing integration of theoretical and practical knowledge accompanied the advancement of technology from a marginal phenomenon to a central element of social productivity in the economy of modern capitalist society. The changing role of theoretical mechanical knowledge was foreshadowed in the realm of ideas where the so-called mechanistic world view emerged and then developed into an almost universal and intuitively self-evident doctrine. This mechanical world view was abandoned only when the rich results of science, to which it had contributed, could no longer be fitted into its framework and when twentieth-centry physics made its seemingly timeless conceptual foundations obsolete.

The study of such long-term processes of the development of scientific knowledge requires not only a general theoretical framework of a sort unlikely to emerge from specialized historiography or from rational speculative syntheses. Such a study obviously also hinges on the analysis of an enormous corpus of sources that serve as its empirical validation. These sources have to cover mechanical knowledge far beyond what is usually taken into account by a history of science that focuses on individual discoveries. What the project at the MPIWG is attempting to reconstruct for the different historical periods covered by the project are the following dimensions of knowledge:

  • theoretical scientific knowledge,
  • the practical knowledge implicit in the productive use of technology which is a common precondition of both science and technology, and
  • the universal knowledge embodied in cultural practices similar in all human cultures.

This may explain the two main aspects of the research which forms the foundation of the Archimedes Project :

  • the application of methods and techniques of cognitive science in order to capture the structures that organize the interaction of these three types of knowledge,
  • the use of computer-assisted analysis that enables us to extract information relevant to the reconstruction of such structures on the basis of historical sources.”



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